We were at the beach before the crowds today. Actually we were surprised at how quiet it was. I went for a 5k run and DB sat at a table at Parnassia strandtent as he was recovering from a night with friends in Haarlem. And his long run will be tomorrow. Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day in the dunes and at the beach.
I did the usual 5k loop and even in that small distance I saw bunnies (too fast to photograph), 3 groups of highland cattle, 2 groups of wild horses, a shetland pony, lots of furry caterpillars, lots of birds and waterfowl.
I’m sure that tomorrow, Sunday, there will be traffic jams getting to the beach and back. It’s a lovely place to come hang out or walk around or just sit and read or knit and drink coffee. But come early or come by bike or train. But definitely come.
This morning I had such a need to go into the dunes and feel the trees around me. The sun was shining and the wind had died down from yesterday’s gales.
It’s been a stressful couple of days. I needed to get out and clear my head and get that peaceful feeling that only the trees and hills can give me. I’m so thankful for the trees.
I found a new route to take, which turned out to be a fantastic loop, half in an area I’d never run before and half along the favorite well worn path. Here’s the map of where I went, starting at the hockey fields near Santpoort Zuid, turning left off of the bike path, making my way to Volgelmeer (bird lake). From the lake back to the hockey fields is the route we normally take. The first half of the route, through the trees, is where I took the above photo. As soon as I took the photo my stupid phone DIED, so I was lucky to get that one good shot!
Today I saw the highland cattle, rubbing their shaggy heads on trees. It felt like Spring outside. We haven’t really had a winter this year, but it’s still February and a little early to call it over. The little birds have started to sing, and my rose bushes are starting to put out green shoots, so Spring can’t be far away.
This has been the best summer weather we’ve had since I moved here 10 years ago. At least in my opinion it’s the best. Some people are complaining about the heat, but for me it’s wonderful to be able to actually wear summer clothes! Normally I get my shorts out of the closet about 5 days per year. Since the first of July we’ve had mostly sun and heat.
I’ve been biking to the beach a lot these days. It’s helps that I’m unemployed. OK, it helps to have the time for fun things, but there’s a definite down side (moola). (And that is all coming to an end… more news later.)
Here are some sights from my trips around, on the bike and on foot, to the beach and back.
This little frog was seen on a street in Bloemendaal, during an early morning walk/run.
A typical sight here – Mom with a couple of kids, on bikes, going as fast as the kid’s little legs will go.
Parnassia, early Thursday morning. Pretty quiet. But it’s early still.
Wild horses hanging out in the noonday sun. Seems like a hot place to be if you ask me.
Parnassia Friday morning 11:00am. People streaming down to the beach. The parking lot is sure to be full by now.
The horses and cattle have moved to the “lake”, now a watering hole for animals in the dunes. Seems like a good place to be in this heat.
My last free days of summer will see more trips into the dunes, that’s for sure. It’s been too warm for me to do any running. These trips on the bike are all early in the morning. We’re all trying to beat the heat. And will remember these lovely summer days long into the cold dark winter to come.
I had my sporty bike tuned up this past week and have biked to the beach and back twice since then. The first time I went was this past Wednesday and as I came to the small lake in the middle of our dunes running area I saw that the wild horses had had foals! In the 5 years that we’ve lived here and I’ve been going into the dunes, I’ve never seen foals or calves. They were laying down most of the time so it was hard to get a good photo, and I only had my iPhone with me.
Yes, I know, it’s hard to see them in this photo, but trust me, there are 3 foals laying there. I also took photos of the ever present cattle.
The area around the lake on this day was crowded with animals. Cattle, horses, bunnies, and all sorts of water fowl. It was a busy and noisy spot that day!
Today when I biked past there, the cattle and birds were all still there. There were more geese than ever, fattening up their young for the eventual trip south. With the weather we’ve been having they are probably wishing they’d stayed in the south and not bothered to come up here!
The horses had moved to a much quieter spot much farther away from the bike route. I saw them further up the trail, off in the distance. I hope to see them again before the foals are all full grown. I have also seen a fawn here in the dunes, which was also very special and hasn’t been repeated since.
By the way, after my fall down the stairs I’m a bit paranoid about falling, in any way. Yesterday we bought me a bike helmet. I will probably never need it (god I hope I don’t ever need it), but I feel safer and calmer wearing it. I really like biking to the beach and through the dunes. It’s the other crazy people out there that worry me – walking in front of me without warning or those crazy bike racers who think they own the road taking a corner too fast and taking me out with them. I shudder when I think about it, but I get back on the bike and head out. We live in a city on a busy street so this is my own chance for quiet and a little bit of nature. I’ll take it.
Yes, it is still winter here. I don’t even see buds on the trees in the dunes yet and since there aren’t any bulbs occurring naturally here, there are no little flowers popping up either. There are, however, lots of interesting tree shapes.
These photos were taken Sunday while DB was running and I was walking in Zuid-Kennermerland National Park, just a short 10 minute drive from our house. If you continue west through the dunes you end up at the beach, either Bloemendaal or Parnassia.
I saw several trees with bark rubbed or cut off. How did this happen? I think either humans or the Highlands Cattle that roam around here did this. I can’t imagine why a human would have wanted to do this but I can imagine that a bovine with an itchy head and horns would do this. Or maybe the deer with new antlers.
After about 40 minutes of wandering around, DB came running up. These photos make it look like we had the whole dunes to ourselves. Not quite. There were actually a lot of runners on Sunday. It’s a popular place to walk and run, even on a grey, cold winter day.
This morning DB wanted to go running on soft ground, and given that the ground everywhere was covered in ice and sleety snow, he asked if I would drive him to the beach so he could run there. My first thought was that I would sit in the warm cafe at Parnassia and drink hot chocolate and knit while he ran (I’m still injured and not running). After driving through the dunes to Parnassia and seeing how beautiful everything looked covered in a fine dusting of white, I decided instead to go for a walk and take photos. Of course I hadn’t thought to bring my big camera, but my iPhone takes pretty darned good photos if you ask me.
I didn’t walk very far – about 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back, plus some photography time. DB and I got back to Parnassia at about the same time. We got in the car and drove back home. Once again I’m so happy and grateful that I live only 10 minutes by car from the beach. How lucky am I?
Here are some more photos from the morning. The sun is still shining bright and it’s cold and crisp outside. These are winter days that I love.